Raleigh, NC – NC State remained undefeated on Saturday as they topped the Cavaliers of Virginia 35 to 21. The Wolf Pack defense came up with multiple big stops and turnovers to impact the game, while NC State quarterback Ryan Finley finished 22 of 32, passing for 257 yards and 3 TD’s.
NC State opened the game up with a solid drive that found the red zone. However, the drive stalled out and the Wolf Pack would have to settle for a 34 yard Chris Dunn field goal to take the early 3-0 lead.
After, the Pack defense held strong, forcing a quick 3 and out. This followed by a slow second drive for the Pack offense and saw their drive stall out just before getting to midfield.
This is when the Cavaliers got things rolling. Quarterback Bryce Perkins connected with Olamide Zaccheaus for a 35 yard TD reception to get UVA on the board and into the lead at 7-0 with under 3 minutes left in the 1st quarter.
NC State then put together a solid drive of their own, getting into the red zone, before having two penalties on 1st and 10 at the 20, pushed back to the 25-yard line for a 1st and 25. That wouldn’t slow them down though, as three play later quarterback Ryan Finley threw a dart to wideout Emeka Emezie for a 16 yard TD connection. This made it 10-7 with 11:50 left in the first half and the Pack leading.
Near the end of the 1st half, NC State would extend their lead with a run-heavy drive that saw 8 carries in 9 plays, of an 8-yard drive that saw its only pass on the final play of the drive with Finley finding Cary Angeline for a 14 yard TD connection. This made it 17-7 with under a minute to play in the half.
Then the defense stepped up again, this time in the form of an interception as Nick McCloud intercepted Perkins to give the Wolf Pack a 1st and 10 at the Cavalier 48-yard line. The Pack would convert that turnover into a 44 yard Dunn field goal ahead of the end of the first half, with NC State leading 20-7.
Entering the 3rd quarter, the defense remained stout, forcing a 3 and out for the Cavaliers offense on their opening drive of the half. Then Finley marked the Wolf Pack down the field in a methodical 10-play 76-yard drive that ate 4:51 off the clack and was capped on a 2 yard Reggie Gallaspy II TD run, to put NC State up 27-7.
The Cavaliers were not going to just roll over though, and Perkins led them on a scoring drive of their own. It was 9-play 82 yard drive that was capped off on an Olamide Zaccheaus 9 yard TD connection. This cur it back to just a 2 score game with 3:11 left in the 3rd quarter.
On the Cavaliers ensuing possession, they would elect to go for it on 4th down and 4 from the NC State 21-yard line. Perkins would overthrow his receiver in the end zone, giving the Pack possession of the ball with 12:13 left to play.
A 5th trip to the end zone for NC State would give them a 35-14 lead over UVA with 7:25 left to play. UVA, however, would answer with a score and an onside kickoff recovery, cutting the lead back to just two scores with possession, trailing 35-21. Then on a 4th and 22, NC State was called for a 15-yard facemask penalty to give UVA a fresh set of downs with 1:46 left to play. After yet another penalty would re-set the downs for UVA, the Pack defense made up for it with a game-sealing red zone interception by Dexter Wright.